I once interviewed for an ESL teaching position at a school in Switzerland. I couldn’t imagine a more idyllic place to live and teach for a couple of years. The type of courses and the type of students that I would teach seemed like a good fit for me. On top of that, it included free housing.
Fortunately, during the interview, I asked a question, and after hearing their response, I immediately knew that teaching there would have been a disaster for me.
During the interview, I answered the typical questions that they asked. Then near the end of it, the interviewer (director) asked me if I had any questions, so I asked, “What are you most proud of about your program?”
The interviewer answered, “We believe that one of the greatest features of our program is how much time students get to spend with their teachers. The teachers’ housing is right next to the student dorms, so there are lots of chances for students to interact with teachers outside class and in their homes. The housing location also makes it easier for teachers to supervise students outside class.”
I enjoy interacting with my students in class and when I run into them outside of it, but I was certain that I would quickly burn out under those conditions. The next day, I withdrew my name for consideration.
A positive impression I got after hearing the answer to that same question
During an interview at a different program at a college, I asked the same question, “What are you most proud of about your program?” That time, I was very impressed by the response. The interviewer said that ESL program is considered an integral part of the college. In other words, unlike ESL programs on many other campuses, this one is not separate from the rest of the campus. In fact, the ESL instructors are even encouraged to serve on college committees.” That clinched my decision to accept the position when it was offered to me.